As the cash crunch arising from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s naira redesign policy eases, commercial banks in the country are battling to resolve a backlog of failed mobile transactions accumulated during the over two-month cash crunch.
At its peak, the cash crunch witnessed an increase in the number of Nigerians using mobile banking facilities as well as the volume of failed transactions as a result mostly of poor network connectivity.
The crowds at the banks during the period did not, however, allow many with complaints of failed transactions to properly lodge their complaints with the banks’ customer care units. Now that the crowds are easing with the relative availability of cash following the CBN’s recirculation of the old N500 and N1,000 notes last weekend, many bank customers have besieged the banks seeking to resolve their complaints.
When The Nigerian Observer visited several bank branches in Benin City, Edo State capital, it was observed that the banks were brimming with customers who said they had pending issues with failed mobile transactions that they had come to resolve.
At United Bank for Africa (UBA) branch on Airport Road, Benin City, a bank customer, Mercy Ose, said she attempted to make a transfer on the 10th of March and was debited but the transaction did not go through.
“Since the 10th of this month, and the money has not been reversed up till this moment,” she said.
Comfort Emmanuel, an Access Bank customer, said she has a pending transaction of N10,000 since the 17th of March and no solution has been offered.
At Zenith Bank, a customer who refused to share his name with The Nigerian Observer said he has hanging transactions that have not been cleared since last year and that he was fed up with complaining.
“I overlooked the money because the stress is not worth it. I can no longer stand the long queue and crowd I always meet,” said another customer who also would not disclose his name.
Efforts to speak with officials of some of the banks regarding some of the customers’ complaints were rebuffed as the officials insisted they were not authorized to speak to the media.
“I cannot discuss a matter like this on behalf of my bank unless I get permission from my superiors,” said Mr George Akosa, Business Manager at a UBA branch.
Also, a staff at Keystone Bank branch along Airport Road said they were not allowed to speak to the press. The bank also would not allow this reporter access to the branch manager.
However, a secretary at a Zenith Bank branch said the issue of failed or pending transactions is not only within the banks, adding that the increase in the number of customers’ complaints resulted from the increase in the volume of online transactions due to the non-availability of cash.
“There is a different platform that enables inter-bank transactions, which is the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System. They take time in resolving interbank transaction problems and the banks involved too will need to confirm the authenticity of the information given before the complaint can be solved, hence resulting into telling customers to wait for some working days before reversal,” he said on condition of anonymity.